Saturday, 23 May 2020

Battlegroup Northag 15mm plans

Following on from my last post, here is a brief rundown of what I have and what I want need to get for Battlegroup Northag in 15mm. My plan is to be able to do a company sized action in this scale, so 750 points per side is the target. That should be more than enough at this size, another larger I will do with the 6mm collection I have.

So, where does my force stand in terms of the points needed. I'll start with the Russians, as I need very little for them. As it is I have over 900 points worth, so don't honestly need anything, but there are a few things I want to get at some point, some BTRs (cheaper infantry option), some BRDM3 tank killers and maybe some 2S1 SPGs for direct support.

The list I have made up so far is
Forward Screen
   Tank Recce Patrol (2xT64A)
   Armoured Car Patrol (2xBRDM2)
   Air Defence Battery (1xZSU-23-4 and 1xSA-9)
   2 Armoured Recce Patrol (Fire team and AT team in BMP-1)
Forward Screen

   Tank Company (10xT-64A)
T-64 Company
Main Force
   Rifle Platoon (3 Fire teams, 3 AT teams, 1 SA-7, 1 AGS-17 in 4 BMP-1)
   Rifle Platoon (3 Fire teams, 3 AT teams, 1 SA-7, 1 PK MG in 4 BMP-1)
Rifle Platoons
   Battlegroup Commander (1 T-64AK)
   Forward Observation Officer (1 FOO team in BTR)
   MP Team (1 Command team in UAZ)
   Tactical Command Centre (1 Command Team in ACRV2/BTR)
   Supply Truck (1 truck)
   82mm mortars in support
No pictures of these yet as I need to get the vehicles
Fire Support
   Deployed Smoke Screen
   2 Timed 122mm Barrages
   Breakthrough Special Tactics
   2 Rolls

That comes in at 750 points with a break point of 63, 4 officers and 4 scouts. Thirteen T-64s should give a decent level of firepower, although the force is a bit lacking in infantry with only 2 full platoons. The plan is to advance, attack and pin the enemy with the T-64s and then use the Rifle platoons to capture any objectives or get off table using the Breakthrough tactic. The reinforcement rolls would hopefully be used for another tank company of T-62s(stood in for by my T-55s) and another Rifle Platoon.

Bear in mind that I have no idea if it is a good force yet as I still haven't played a game, but it seems fairly balanced for a tank heavy force. The only things I do not have are a UAZ jeep, a truck, a BTR and an ACRV2. I could also do with a different looking T-64 for my commander, just to make him stand out and look important.

For the British, I need more stuff! Lots more stuff! I can currently put together a mere 320 points, which is a bit lacking.

The list is below, with what I need to get in italics.
Forward Screen
   Dug in Forward Observation Officer (1 FOO team)
   Dug in Infantry Platoon with 1 added Carl Gustav (7 fire teams and 1 AT team)
   Dug in Blowpipe team (1 team)
   Dug In Chieftain Tank Troop (3 Chieftain Mk9)
   Gazelle Helicopter
Chieftains plus other bits
   Chieftain Tank Troop (3 Chieftain Mk9)
Main Force
   Mech Platoon (4 fire teams, 3 AT teams and 4 Fv432)
1st Mech Platoon
   Mech Platoon (4 fire teams, 3 AT teams and 4 Fv432)
   Battlegroup Commander (command team in Fv432)
   Tactical Command Centre (command team in Sultan/Fv439)
   Electronic Warfare Team (command team in Sultan/Fv439)
   105mm Abbot battery in support
Fire Support
   Off Table SAM Cover
   2 Counter Battery Fire missions
   Timed 105mm Artillery Strike
   Timed Tornado Strike
   1 Roll

Total is 749 points with a 64 break points, 3 officers and 3 scouts. It actually has more infantry platoons than the Soviet list, plus 6 Chieftains. Very little scouting as it is designed as a defensive force. I plan to get what I need for this list first, then add some more options, things like Scorpion/Scimitar light tanks, Recce infantry in Spartans etc to give me a more mobile option. Sadly the Armies Army range is no longer available, being sold to Plastic Soldier Company and then sold again to Scotia Grendel. There is no sign of them on the Scotia website and no reply to my enquiry, so it looks like I will have to go elsewhere. I wonder how Butlers Printed Models vehicles match up size wise. 😟

I will take some pictures when I get the rest ordered, painted(hopefully) and based.

Take care and stay safe.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Life, the Universe and other stuff

I have been remiss in updating my blog for sometime and can only apologise if you missed me. Who am I kidding, nobody reads this tripe. 😑

My wargaming has been somewhat curtailed since I last posted as I have developed cataracts and it has really screwed up my vision. I cannot see to paint anything now without wearing my contact lenses and opti-visor, which then gives me a splitting headache after about 10 minutes of squinting. So no painting. I am also struggling to read things for the same reason, unless I hold the book up to my nose. This on top of my digestive issues has really screwed my head up and I had been down in a dark place for some time. Ah well, it could be worse, there could be a worldwide pandemic and we could be in lockdown. Then I got sick with a "mild case" of the Corona Virus. If what I had was only mild I feel for those who have had it worse, I felt awful for two weeks and wish the best to anybody who has it now. Screw you Covid 19! 😷

So why am I back now you may ask. Two reasons, firstly my wife has beaten my lethargy into submission with a big stick, so I am making a concerted effort to be positive and do more. So here I am. Not able to paint, not really able to do much gaming either for some reason. Why not? Because my loving wife has rediscovered her love of jigsaws and has taken over the table with a never ending stream of the bloody things. Good job I love her. 😉

The other reason is the recent release of the Battlegroup Northag ruleset by Plastic Soldier Company. I have a lot of interest in the what-if scenario of the Cold War gone hot, primarily because I am a child of the 1960's and it was important as we were a forces family. I already have a considerable force of Soviets, British, French and Americans in 1/300 scale, Russians, British, Dutch and Germans in 15mm and Russians and British in 28mm. The rules recommend 10mm, but I am not doing a new scale as I have enough already, so it's 1/300 for bigger games and 15mm for smaller actions.

The rules themselves look very nice and I am looking forward to getting a game in at some point soon. I like the way the forces are organised, with a forward screen on the table and a vanguard force arriving to reinforce the defence/attack. Having perused the two army lists (British and Soviet) in the main rulebook, I have a couple of things I will need to tweak slightly, but nothing major. More lists will be released in a supplement at some point in the future, but for now I have been making up my own for my Dutch and German troops.

My issues with the list both concern the British infantry platoon.

Point one. The Carl Gustav 84mm . You can only have one which seems strange as the platoon had one per squad, and you can't have any if you have a dug in forward screen platoon?!  Also its AT rating drops with range, which is bizarre as it is a HEAT round which are not affected by range/velocity like AP rounds are. So, I will up the AT to 3 at all ranges and allow the platoon to replace 2 rifle teams with CG teams if they wish.

Point two. The Milan sections. The list allows you to add one milan team in a Spartan APC to the platoon, although not to the dug in platoon again. As far as I know and according to all the references I have seen, the Milan Platoon had a HQ section and two detachments of two milan teams carried in three Fv432s. So that is two milan teams in one Fv432. So that is what I will be using for my lists, obviously at an increased cost to the force.

So there you go, I am still here and still annoying everybody around me. Take care folks and stay safe in these troubling times.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Black Powder ACW at Entoyment

It's been a while since I have posted, mainly due to being either very busy or rather ill again. So, here goes again. I have done a bit of gaming, a bit of painting and a bit of struggling not to snap peoples heads off when they annoy me.

Highlight of the gaming came last Sunday when we had a trip to Entoyment in Poole to play a Black Powder ACW game of the Battle of Fredericksburg. Panjo, Nathan, my son Christopher and I all went up and played with several other like-minded lunatics gamers. The sensible ones picked the Confederate side, while the fools went for the blue coats. I was in the middle of the Confederate line, just to the right of the sunken road/stone wall on the heights. Christopher was to my right and Nathan was on the far right with lots of very static cavalry. The far left was ably commanded by Mel while my immediate left was commanded by Lee(not the real one), Mel's husband. There is a better report of the game on their blog, Battlebunker.

Hood's Division stands ready to see off Billy Yank
 I had command of Hood's and Pickett's divisions of Jackson's Corps. Spread thin was the thought that came to mind, I had very very few reserves to support my thin front line.
Early commanded the far right, waiting on Stuarts cavalry
 As more and more Union types crossed the river we all sat and waited for Stuart to spring into action. It turned out to be a long wait as rasping Nathan "Wandering Star" Marvin kept rolling 11's on his command rolls.
Damn Yankees just kept on coming!
 Meanwhile his opposite number had similar issues as he kept moving alternate brigades each turn.

Longstreet's Division goes to sleep in their sunken road.
 Lee(not the real one) commanded loads of troops holding the most defensible position on the table. Sensibly the Union boys stayed as far away from him as they could and all headed for my thin line of grey clad fighting men. It was so quiet on Lee's(not the real one) section that he even told his men to have a nap!
Union troops filtering through Fredericksburg
Facing Mel was Jamie, her son. There is no love lost between those two when it comes to wargames.  He kept on charging and she kept on slapping him back down the hill. Luca faced Lee(not the real one) initially, but quickly moved over to charge Pickett's thin line.

More yanks crossing the river, there are a lot of cavalry over there!
Over on the right Stuart failed to move again and the Yank cavalry streamed over the river and prepared to do some damage. However, once over the river everything seemed to slow down over that side.

That's not gun smoke, it's Longstreet's troops having a cigar break!
 On the left Lee's(not the real one) men had woken up and lit the "fine southern tobacco" cigars provided by General Longstreet. They are not firing, well not going by the lack of damage caused anyway!
Stuart finally moves forward....a bit
  Stuart finally moved forwards, once! The next turn saw yet another blunder by raspy Nathan and the cavalry all moved left to stand in front of their own infantry so they couldn't fire. Something about not letting them get any of the glory I think.
Pickett's Division is holding against ever increasing odds
 Meanwhile Pickett was fighting a valiant defence against ever increasing odds. His position was the weakest of the hill top defenders, with a stone wall to his left and a fence to his right, but no cover for his troops at all. Despite the best efforts of the masses of blue coats he was managing to hold while he waited for Lee(not the real one) to do anything.........
Oh look, there is still nobody attacking Ransom's Division!
 As my troops weathered the storm my left flank was eerily quiet. Except for the sound of coffee being drunk and cigars being lit that is. Nobody there Lee(not the real one), any chance of you passing a command roll today?
Finally Lee(not the General) springs(wanders) into action!
 Shock and horror, Lee(not the real one) moved some troops to support Pickett. To be fair the timing was fortuitous as my unit was forced to fall back the very next turn, but don't believe him if he says he planned it like that. The next turn say a sweeping advance by Lee(not the real one), but it wasn't planned. He rolled a command blunder and his troops decided to charge forwards!

Lucky timing though as it enabled the fresh, well rested, nicotine charged troops to roll up the flanks of the attacks to both sides of them and win the day.

All in all it was a cracking day with great company and a fun scenario. Thanks to Paul and Carl for letting us play with their troops and putting on a great game. More thanks to Pete and Entoyment for hosting us. I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the shop as it is an Aladdin's cave for wargamers! Extra thanks to all the other gamers, even static Lee(not the real one)!  😉 Good to meet you.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Chain of Command 29 Lets Go Campaign

For the last few weeks/moths I have been running the "29 Let's Go" Chain of Command pint sized campaign for some of the Devon Wargames players. Primarily this was to show them the way the game is played at its best, one platoon against one platoon.
Picture stolen from JJ's blog
As I have said previously, the best place to see the battle details is JJ's blog. He has taken many pictures and put up a few reports already. I am now putting up the final result and the details of casualties etc.

In the campaign the Germans get a single platoon for the majority of the actions while the Americans get a new platoon for each game. This gives a big advantage to the American player as they get three squads of twelve men for every game while the German has to husband his resources and try to minimise losses while still stopping the advancing enemy.

The campaign is fought on 5 maps in a ladder sequence. It is possible for the Americans to win in 5 games, put unlikely if the German player is sneaky careful. As it was, this run of the campaign took 9 games as Ian managed to pull a few sneaky wins and one completely flukey one.

Above is the map of the battlefields as they appear on the ground. Maps 1, 2 and 5 are defended by a single platoon of Germans. Luckily maps 2 and 3 are off the advance route and are held by other platoons, so they just serve to delay the advance. 

In the campaign the games went well for the Americans initially. They won game 1 and 2 on maps 1 and 2, then lost game 3 on map 3 and had to refight it in turn 4. Turn 5 on map 4 saw a major back step for the Allies when, despite getting 6 phases on the trot before any Germans were even on the table, they failed to get a chain of command dice and the concentrated German firepower broke their force morale very quickly. The battle was lost for want of a single 5 in 7 phases of play.

That set them back to map 2 on the main road. The original German platoon was well rested by now and called up reinforcements, giving them a full platoon again. They went on to win and consolidated their position. This also caused the American Colonel to waver, requiring a visit for General "Dutch" Cotter to get him moving again. Game 8 and the Germans inflicted a few casualties and then pulled back to maintain their strength. Game 9 was the final round and would decide if it was a major German victory or if the allied advance would continue. As it went on, this final battle was a very cagey affair and it went right down to the wire. Both sides lost many men and force morale fell, reducing chain of command dice until, finally, the Germans broke and the American advance could continue. However, all the Germans except for the defending platoon had escaped and the ongoing fight would be harder for it.

Below is a table detailing the losses after each game. Losses are not all dead, 50% are dead or badly wounded enough that they are counted as dead, 25% are wounded and miss the next game while the final 25% are lightly wounded and are available for the next game.
The different coulours on the German column show the losses for the other platoons. In total German losses were 86 infantry, 2 NCOs and 9 support weapon crew. That works out as 43 dead and 43 wounded. American losses were 103 infantry, 1 Senior NCO, 3 NCOs and 6 Shermans, giving 52 dead GIs with 51 wounded.  All told the losses were fairly equal, except for the 6 Shermans!

It was fun to run the campaign for the lads, especially as  I got to see their tactics and planning change each time they played. I can recommend the pint sized campaigns to any one who like Chain of Command, it makes for a very different game to the usual game as you have to be more careful with your losses. 

That's it for now, I am off on the yearly pilgrimage to Partizan tomorrow so expect news of that next week. Catch you all later.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Legionary 2019, To the Strongest game

Yesterday was the local Exeter wargames show Legionary, hosted by the Exmouth Imperials who are as fine a group of folks as you can hope to least in Exmouth! 😉😁

As we usually do, Nathan(aka Stumpy) and I put on a game. Sadly we couldn't do the game we originally planned so we decided to do a 28mm ancinets game using the "To the Strongest" rule set. These rules use no tape measures and no dice, so Stumpy was at a disadvantage as his usual rubber tape measure would be of no help to him. Sorry mate, I had to get it in, hehehehe.

The game was Romans(nasty invading types) marching into Dacia and being surprised when the locals got all shirty about it and started shouting "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

The forces were 180 points each, just to give some extra scope for an all day game. The Romans had 5 generals, 6 Legion, 4 Auxiliary, 5 skirmish infantry, 2 cavalry and 2 light cavalry units. They were marching along the road and had to react to the Dacians arrival on the flank.

The Dacians had 4 generals, including a Sarmatian and a Bastarnae in command of their own country men. Their troops were 8 units of warriors, including 2 Bastarnae, 2 skirmish infantry, 2 light cavalry and 4 Sarmation lancers. 

Below are some pictures of the game as it went on. Things did not go too well for the Romans!

Bastarnae units getting as close as they can to the Roman column
The massed Dacians advancing through the rough ground as
quickly as they can.
A view from behind the Dacians, with the Basternae
way ahead on the right
The massed ranks of Sarmation cavalry, but even they couldn't
keep up with the Basternae

Turn 2, the Basternae failed to move as their General
pulled an ace. Oops
They did manage to chop some Romans up a bit first though.

The Dacian mass struggles through the rough ground as the Roman
 general "Minimus" and his dog "Rex" look on

On the left flank Roman arrows spelt doom for one of the Dacian
light cavalry units
The right flank was going well though as the Sarmatians
drove the Roman light troops back

Battle was joined in the centre as Roman gladius
met Dacian falces
Where are all the Roman veterans?
Oh dear, the Sarmatians are coming!
The Roman cavalry was trying the same on the left flank though. 
The Roman light troops do their best to slow down the Sarmatians
The Roman cavalry is threatening the left flank........
Oh, no it's not. 
The last of the Roman light troops prepares for the worst.
Basternae look on as the Sarmatians claim all the glory
Veteran lancers on the flank, it's not looking good for the Romans
as General Myxamytosis looks on
The Roman last stand as Dacians, Basternae and Sarmatians
all roll up the flanks
The Romans fought back valiantly after initially getting a right good kicking. At one point they had 3 medals left and the Dacians had 18! At the end the Dacians only had 5 left as the Roman camp fell. The MVU(most valuable unit) was the Sarmatian "Red Lancers", who rolled up four Legion units including both veterans. The best Roman units were two of the Auxilia, who did all the real fighting.

All in all it was a cracking game to watch. After a couple of turns I let my son Christopher take control of the Dacians and Nathan managed the Romans with Andy as a unwilling subordinate. Thanks for playing the game lads.

The show was good again, seems to go from strength to strength each year. See you there next year.

I am still here

Sorry for the lack of posts, I have been a bit down and just couldn't be bothered. However my wife said "Beatings will continue until morale improves" so I am back, hopefully the bruises will start to fade now. 😉

Games have been played since I last posted, but not as many as I would have liked. I have been running a Chain of Command campaign for a couple of the Devon Wargames Group fellas so they can play the game as it is designed, rather than in a multi-player game as the club games tend to be. Best place to see what has been going on is over at JJ's blog as he has been photographing and documenting the games, and the learning curve, that have been played. It's been most enjoyable to watch how the tactics have evolved as the campaign has gone on. Ian, commanding the Germans, has gone from "Get everything on the table" to "Wait, wait, let them come closer" while JJ and Steve have developed from just going for general advances to picking their target, setting a plan and then using all the assets they have to push through. I hope they have enjoyed it as much as I have.

I have also played some cracking ancients games using To The Strongest. I really like these rules and would recommend them to anyone who doesn't mind not having 100% control of things when you game, if you like Too Fat Lardies rules you will probably like these too.  We have also played a couple of games of For King and Parliament from the same author.  Again, these are a lot of fun and have inspired me to go through my lead pile for the Renegade ECW figures I bought a few many years ago. We played the game using some very old 15mm armies borrowed from a friend, but they looked good and the game was very entertaining. Here are a few pictures of the game.
The forces are arrayed, Royalist to the right and Parliamentarians opposite.
Things are heating up as the lines close for battle and the flanks get all confusing

Anyway, that is it for now. I will do another update later about yesterdays Legionary show in Exeter, where Nathan and I put on a game of To the Strongest using Romans and Dacians.

Later folks and thanks for sticking around......if anybody did.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Sons of Mars Gladiatorial Combat rules

I have been away on holiday with the family but have returned. Sadly my father-in-law passed away last Wednesday so it wasn't the best week ever.

Wargames wise, I have bought yet another set of rules. To be fair these are probably the least demanding in terms of figure requirements, but it's still wargaming. I have played several Gladiatorial combat systems over the years but never found anything I was happy with.

The most recent was Warhammer Historicals Gladiator set, now long out of print and very pretty. However they didn't do it for me, so they were consigned to the shelf and the figures I had were put away in a part finished state.

Then Northstar came out with a newsletter including a new set of Gladiator rules called Sons of Mars and the preorder deal included a pack of Crusader Miniatures Gladiators of your choice. A few quid was quickly spent and I eagerly awaited the postman.

So a quick review is in order I guess. The book is a decent quality softback and reads nicely. The rules are only a few pages, less than 20 in all excluding character skills. The rest of the book covers the Gladiator types, 17 in all, beasts, skills and a very nice campaign system to build up your own Ludus. There are even tables to allow solo play, with the actions of the opposition being determined by their best capability in a fight.

The basic system is opposed dice rolls using D10's. Initiative is diced for using Agility, so the lighter(and quicker) fighters tend to gain an advantage. However a +2 modifier isn't overpowering, so there is always the chance that the heavy weight will sneak in and attack unexpectedly. You can appeal to the crowd to gain a favour dice, but if you fail it may give the extra dice to your opponent!

The basic Gladiator stats give the core capabilities for your fighter which are then modified by their weapon choice and their skills. The skills are what makes the system for me, the ability to get an extra dice for that crucial fight, reroll an armour save or even breakaway from a fight all make your fighters different. Do you equip your man with a Gladius, good in a sustained fight, or give him a longer Spatha which will give him an edge if he charges? Does he take Impenetrable, allowing a single armour reoll, or Shield Bash, allowing rerolls in all Push tests in the combat?

I really like them, so much so that I got my gladiator figures out and painted up the unpainted ones, then rebased them all to use for this system.

Rebased West Wind and EM4 figures
Here are the previously painted ones. Some even came painted from EM4 miniatures many years ago. Not 100% sure but I think that these are mostly West Wind figures(now OOP I think), plus the four from EM4.

Crusader Miniatures Gladiators
Then we have the newly painted ones, all by Crusader Miniatures and very nice they are too. All told I have 27 figures now covering all the main types I can see me needing.

Clovis, Drakon, Atticus and Britannicus
As I said earlier there is a campaign system and tables for controlling the opponent, so I have been playing with myself (ooh err missus). My Ludus has gone from two fighters to four in three game months. Of the original pair Clovis the provocotar is unbeaten with 7 wins and is a regional champion. Drakon, a hoplomachus, has a record of 5 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss. In March they were joined by Atticus, a dimachaerus with a record of 2 wins and 1 loss. Finally Britannicus the secutor was bought and has won his only fight so far. The Ludus has a balance of 90 coins but is at its maximum capacity for gladiators, so 200 coins will upgrade to a capacity of 6 and allow me to hire specialists such as a doctore(trainer) and medicus etc.

It is a good game and provides plenty of fun, even on your own. If you like gladiator games then consider this one.

That's it for now, I am off to the hospital again tomorrow for the results of tests and to see where I go from here. Six months of pretty continuous infections in my stomach is getting very wearing now. Sadly I will not be able to go to the Other Partizan either, due to my wifes father passing away. Ah well, I doubt that he did it on purpose. Catch you all(or both) later!